St Helens to make annual savings of £300k by migrating key systems

Move from mainframe will not mean having to rewrite code

St Helens Council has migrated core business applications from its IBM s/390 mainframe without having to rewrite or buy in new software.

The council’s main reason for migrating away from the s/390 is so it can use features of its Lotus Domino e-mail and document management system that are not available on the mainframe, said Steve Sharples, the council’s IT business manager.

The authority hopes the upgrade will contribute significantly to meeting the annual 2.5% efficiency savings laid down by Whitehall following the Gershon Review.

Lower licensing and maintenance costs will save St Helens £300,000 a year and contribute more than the IT department’s share to the Gershon savings.

The council has ported 18 applications from the mainframe to Windows and Unix systems on Intel servers, and used software from Micro Focus to avoid the lengthy and expensive process of rewriting code.

Not only does the new system have dramatically lower licensing and maintenance costs, it will also enable greater efficiencies in other areas of the council, said Sharples.

Moving Domino on to more industry-standard systems will pave the way for a finance portal, e-procurement and electronic document management, he said.

Although these technologies are available on the mainframe, the tools and additional software would have come at prohibitive “mainframe prices”, he added.

The council will be able to work more efficiently through business process re-engineering around these technologies. For example, staff will no longer have to key in invoices. “Getting the mainframe migration completed on time was the priority for IT, but we will look for substantial savings by taking this approach across the council,” said Sharples.

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